Coach Randy Wittman isn’t sure what the New Year will bring the Wizards.
“If I had that power, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you guys,” Wittman said before the Wizards prepared to host the Dallas Mavericks at Verizon Center. “I’d be doing a lot bigger things.”
Wittman will have to settle for waiting on Trevor Ariza and John Wall to get better, so that the team can move closer to full strength. Ariza and Wall both participated in five-on-none drills in Monday’s practice and Wittman said Ariza is probably closest to coming back. Ariza is hoping for a return this week.
“Hopefully, as we keep moving forward, positive things continue to happen for both of those guys,” Wittman said of Ariza and Wall.
Positive things have already started to happen for Emeka Okafor, who is averaging 9.3 points and 10.6 rebounds in the past eight games. Okafor has recorded a double-double in three of the past four games, posting 11 points and a season-high 18 rebounds in the Wizards’ 87-77 loss in Chicago. The Wizards are 0-3 in those games that Okafor has recorded double-doubles.
“I’m just playing. Just finding my groove,” Okafor said.
The Wizards lost to Dallas, 107-101, when the teams met at American Airlines Center on Nov. 14. But the Mavericks have been struggling of late, losing six in a row by an average of 19.2 points per game.
All-star forward Dirk Nowitzki has been coming off the bench in the past five games, as he works his way back from offseason knee surgery. Nowitzki is averaging just 7.5 points on 32.4 percent shooting since returning.
Garrett Temple will start again at point guard for the Wizards.
Tipoff: 6 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)